Basement Damage

Jerry Kester’s finished basement at 106 Kleopfer Ave., in Riverside sustained heavy water and mud damage during an Aug. 20 storm.

Several residents of Kleopfer Avenue in Riverside are frustrated – really frustrated.

When a strong storm dumped several inches of rain on the morning of Aug. 20, several basements of homes along Kleopfer Avenue flooded.

“I first noticed my basement was flooded. I called the city,” said Cindy Peiffer, who lives at 100 Kleopfer Ave. “My basement has never flooded, and I’ve lived here for 20 years.”

City workers investigated the issue and quickly found the reason for the flooding.

Riverside City Administrator Christine Yancey said that the problem came from work being done at the new Northern Heights development.

“We saw that in the new area, manhole covers were left off the sewer intakes,” Yancey said.

Stormwater rushed unchecked through the sewer lines down to the Kleopfer Avenue homes.

“When that rain came down, all that water came into the sewer intake from that construction site and flooded all of our houses,” Peiffer said. “All the rainwater and all the mud flushed right into our houses.”

Jerry Kester, who lives at 106 Kleopfer Ave., added, “My understanding is that they had already attached to the city sewer system, but didn’t put the plugs in.”

Peiffer said that the owner of CornerStone Excavating, the company that was working on the sewer in the new development, visited homeowners the same day as the storm.

“The owner of Cornerstone Construction came to us that day and said ‘This is our fault. We’ll make it right,’” Peiffer said. “They’ve been very good to work with.”

B.J. Miller, co-owner of CornerStone, did not return messages from The News seeking comment.

“There were some honest mistakes on their part, and they’ve been very good about owning up to it,” Peiffer said.

Residents say that their beef is with CornerStone’s insurance company, United Fire Group.

“Their insurance adjuster came and said it was an act of nature, so their insurance adjuster said they weren’t going to pay for anything,” Peiffer said.

“The insurance company are the ones who sent an adjuster out,” Kester added. “He wasn’t a very good people person to any of us. He was blunt and had no compassion for us. It was like he had an ax to grind.”

Residents have already begun cleanup, but they want to know who will pay for it.

United Fire Group did not respond to requests for comments from The News.

“My Servepro bill was $8,800, and my insurance only covers $5,000,” Peiffer said. “Even if we had the insurance to cover it all, we shouldn’t have to cover it.”

Kester’s home had some of the heaviest damage. 

“My cleanup bill is probably going to be twice that,” Kester said. “We could go through our own insurance and let them do the battle for us, but we’re not very receptive to doing that because the end result is we’re going to get our bills raised. 

“In all reality, our insurance companies shouldn’t even have to know about this.”

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James Jennings, News Editor at The News, can be reached at

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